2. Live Bait
3. Dead Run
4. Snow Blind
5. Shoot to Thrill
People are dying for the new computer game by the software company Monkeewrench. Literally. With Serial Killer Detective out in limited release, the real-life murders of a jogger and a young woman have already mimicked the first two scenarios in the game. But Grace McBride and her eccentric Monkeewrench partners are caught in a vise. If they tell the Minneapolis police of the link between their game and the murders, they’ll shine a spotlight on the past they thought they had erased-and the horror they thought they’d left behind. If they don’t, eighteen more people will die…
Why I Started Reading This Book and Final Verdict
I believe this book was actually a birthday gift from my mom last year (it’s, uh, been awhile). I have always been a big mystery fan, and though my blog doesn’t really reflect that, I still am. I also really enjoy reading books set in places I know (in this case in Minneapolis). With both of those, it would be hard to dislike Monkeewrench. And while it doesn’t bring anything new or ground breaking to the genre, Monkeewrench is still a very entertaining story. Since it is the beginning of a series, I will likely continue — almost a given, knowing that my mom also has the second book.
One of the biggest reasons I like reading books set in Minnesota (especially the Twin Cities area!) is that I know it. I’ve spent my entire life in the area, so when books start talking about actions like getting on I-94 going east toward St. Paul, I know exactly where it is and what the Interstate looks like, and the visual is just that much stronger. In other words, the setting has context. When you are not familiar with an area, the areas, neighborhoods, and streets are virtually meaningless. The drawback to this, of course, is that any inaccuracy — no matter how small it is — stands out like an eyesore. Like the Mall of America? It’s not in Minneapolis. It’s in Bloomington*, which is a suburb of Minneapolis. And it’s not enough to upset me into disliking the book. But it goes to show that you can’t always trust what you read in books.
I find the synopsis of Monkeewrench to be somewhat misleading. I was expecting a book about the people who run Monkeewrench, but there were so many more characters involved. In fact, much of the focus seemed to revolve around the detectives running the big murder case in Minneapolis, and a sheriff and his deputies in Wisconsin running a smaller murder case there. There are seemingly unconnected cases here, and as the reader, we are privy to most of what goes on and we are able to make connections before the police do. I don’t know that this is my favorite way to experience a mystery (I like not knowing anything), but it did have a certain suspense to it, waiting for everyone else to catch up to what you, as the reader, know.
Though this was a pretty standard mystery, I really enjoyed the “eccentric Monkeewrench partners” and their deep dark pasts. I wanted more of it, actually, and I would have liked spending more time with the Monkeewrench group. I didn’t get to know them nearly well enough for my liking. There was also some pretty hilarious barbs and humor going on in Monkeewrench. I love me some funny stuff, especially when a lot of the subject matter is dark and depressing. And possible romance? This is always a plus for me.
Overall, Monkeewrench was a solid book and a good start to a series. Despite the serial killer subject matter, there is very little focus on the blood, gore, and violence that usually goes along with it. Once I settled into the story, it proved very difficult to put down.
*Shout out to Bloomington, by the way. I’ve got friends and a god-dog that live there. Yeah. A god-dog. Like a god-child, but with animals. Anyway. Bloomington is cool. You have to love the suburbs, too.